If you've been on edge the past few months, you're not alone. Many Americans are feeling theeffects of COVID-19—physically, financially, and emotionally.
It's also a nervous time for those planning to buy or sell a home. Spring is historically the prime real estate season. Individuals across the country map out how and where to secure their next home. Others lay the groundwork to sell and move onto the next chapter in their life.
COVID-19 has put much of that on hold.
However, buying and selling real estate is still happening, despite the current pandemic. If you're comfortable taking on some additional risk and exercise patience, opportunities are available.
Here's what you need to know about buying and selling during COVID-19.
Finding the Right Agent
Before we touch on individual tips for buyers and sellers, let's first review the importance of finding the right real estate agent. Now more than ever, you'll want to partner with an agent who's comfortable working virtually.
Your agent must have a strong web presence to source properties, find buyers, and conduct business digitally. Property tours over FaceTime, meetings using Zoom, marketing with Facebook, and document execution with Adobe—these aren't just prime tools for use in the time of COVID-19, but also property transactions for the future. You want a team on your side who's comfortable using all of it.
If you're a buyer, house hunting is a tricky proposition even without the pall of a pandemic hanging overhead. First and foremost, you'll want to bring an abundance of patience to the table if you plan to move forward with finding and buying a home.
Make use of the digital tools at your disposal. Scour online home listing sites to find properties that look promising. Watch the virtual tours that now accompany many listings. Arrange for your agent to provide a real-time video tour of your favorite properties.
Some aspects of the buying process won't change much from what you're already familiar with—email communication, document sharing, and follow-up phone calls.
However, prepare to utilize video more and more. Prior face-to-face aspects of loan approval like home inspections and appraisals will happen virtually—one person visiting the home with results discussed remotely. You'll want the ability to easily connect with these providers. For instance, have Zoom or FaceTime set up and be sure to secure a Dropbox account if necessary.
As a general rule, if you can afford to wait to sell your home, it's probably best to do so until some normalcy returns to the market. However, if personal reasons make selling a necessity— relocation, downsizing, financial hardship—you can move forward.
Again, as with buyers, have plenty of patience during the listing and transaction process. Deals are taking longer to close than the average 45 to 60 days in more conventional times. Interested buyers will bring different comfort levels to the table. Being flexible increases the likelihood of getting your home sale finalized.
Another critical factor for sellers is the home's Internet presence. You'll need the home's virtual curb appeal to be just as attractive as its real-world counterpart. Abundant, high-quality images and virtual tours are a must.
Finally, unless your property is vacant—which is safer for an actual in-person tour—be prepared to allow your representative to conduct virtual walkthroughs of your home. In some limited instances, it might even make sense to provide them yourself.
Regardless of the circumstances, buyers and sellers should work with their respective agents to understand local guidelines and ensure any property transactions are conducted safely.
Your ideal home is waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking to explore the ins and outs of Manhattan real estate or interested in finding Brooklyn homes for sale, allow The Thrive Real Estate Team to be your guide to the best properties in New York City.